SINGAPORE (June 3): RHB Securities analyst Vijay Natarajan has upgraded Starhill Global REIT to “buy” from “neutral” with a lower target price of 63 cents.

This is down 13 cents from its previous 76 cent call, and believed to give the stock a 17% upside from its 54 cent closing on Tuesday, Natarajan says in a June 3 note. 

The REIT is currently trading at a price-to-book ratio of 0.6, compared to a peer average of 1 and a sector average of 1.1. This makes it a “laggard among retail REIT peers in terms of valuation,” he says.  

“We believe the reason for [the] valuation gap is due to market concerns on its exposure to high-end retail, Wisma Atria’s shorter remaining land tenure (41 years), and declining average retail rents. At current levels, we believe the negatives have been fully priced in”.

With a gearing of  36.7% - well below the revised 50% threshold – Natarajan says there is still room for a rebound.

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